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Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

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ROME — Pope Francis has declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases because it is “an attack” on the “dignity of the person,” the Vatican announced on Thursday, in a definitive shift in Roman Catholic teaching that could put enormous pressure on lawmakers and politicians around the world.
Francis, who has spoken out against capital punishment before — including in 2015 in an address to Congress — added the change to the Catechism, the collection of beliefs for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
The revision says the church would work “with determination” for the abolition of capital punishment worldwide.
“I think this will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world,” said John Thavis, a Vatican expert and author. “People who work with prisoners on death row will be thrilled, and I think this will become a banner social justice issue for the church,” he added.
Sergio D’Elia, the secretary of Hands Off Cain, an association that works to abolish capital puni…

Pakistani Christian Bailed At Last - After 3 Years Facing Death Penalty For Insulting Islam

A Pakistani Christian has been bailed after more than 3 years in prison without being brough to trial or convicted.

Adnan Prince, 29, from Lahore, was initially jailed in November 2013 after being accused of blasphemy and insulting Islam, the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad, which carries the death sentence.

Despite no successful conviction being made, delaying tactics by the prosecution and lawyers' strikes meant Prince was detained for more than 3 years before finally granted bail against a bond worth $3,000, according to World Watch Monitor.

Asma Jahangir, Prince's lead counsel, said forensic evidence had failed to link the accused with his alleged offences and she was confident he could be freed soon.

He was accused of blasphemy on October 7, 2013.

Prince had been working at a diamond glass shop in Lahore when he was spotted reading a controversial book by Islamic fundamentalist Maulana Ameer Hamza, leader of Jamat-ud-Dawa, a political arm of the jihadi organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba which claimed responsibility for the Mumbai bombings.

He was spotted reading the book, I asked the Bible why the Qurans were set on fire, by his Muslim colleague who took offence and reported him for blasphemy, claiming Prince had "marked several pages... with abusive words against the Prophet of Islam".

On hearing of his accusation and the severity of the punishment if convicted, Prince fled. But his brother, mother, aunt and uncle were arrested in his place and told they would not be released until he returned.

So on November 6 Prince handed himself in to the police station where he says he was tortured repeatedly.

"The police were on the verge of killing me after I surrendered to them, but God kept me safe by His grace," he said according to WWM.

"When I came to my senses [after 1 round of torture], I was told that a heavy machine would be rolled over my thighs, which would not only be painful but would render me permanently impotent.

"Then the deputy superintendent of police pushed the barrel of a pistol into my mouth and told me to confess that I had written abusive words in the book. He said he would count to 3 and that if I didn't confess, he would pull the trigger."

On one occasion he was told he was free to go.

"But I knew they were lying and would shoot me from behind if I left," he said. "I told them that if you want to shoot me, then shoot me in the chest and not in the back. They stopped torturing me when they felt they would not be able to shake my resolve."

While in prison he was kept separate from other prisoners for fear of attacks.

Similar cases have been known to take as long as 7 years to reach trial.

The most famous ongoing 'blasphemy charge' case is that of Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death for insulting Islam in 2009 and still remains in jail, awaiting her appeal.

Source: Christian Today, February 7, 2017

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